Rethinking the Automobile with Mazda’s SkyActiv Technology

skyactivInnovations in automotive technology continue as pressure to produce high fuel efficiency or electrical vehicles increases. Consumers are demanding that their auto be efficient, but they want power and performance in the mix, as well. Mazda has been working to meet those demands in the American market for nearly 50 years.

One of the earliest innovations they introduced was the rotary engine designed by German engineer Felix Wankel in the 1960’s. These motors were powerful in the context that they were small and lightweight. But what was gained in power became lost in reduced fuel efficiency and oil consumption.

After 45 years of production, the auto company set the rotary engine aside in 2012, leaving it available to kit car builders and racing enthusiasts. There are rumors that a rotary engine redesign will be introduced in 2016 that will eliminate earlier design flaws.

Now they have stepped up with their SKYACTIV® technology to deliver fuel efficiency and performance together. Instead of carrying over the same technology, the entire process was rebuilt from the ground, up. Realizing that we are still decades away from high power efficiency of electrical vehicles, the company decided to bridge the gap by re-thinking how cars are built.

They began the process with their engine design to produce torque ratios to that of a Formula One racecar with added in fuel efficiency. The pistons were completely redesigned, and the fuel injection process will produce not only more power, but increased fuel mileage.

But they didn’t finish there. In order to add more responsiveness and efficiency, this manufacturer redesigned the transmission. This was accomplished by combining both manual and automatic transmission concepts into a single gearbox controlled by an Advanced Control Module. They also have engineered a smaller and more efficient gearbox for you manual drive enthusiasts.

The next step to a better car was a rework of the chassis. What they were able to accomplish was nothing short of amazing. The manufacturer was able to strengthen frame rigidity, and make the vehicle some 220 pounds lighter. With an improved engineering process, they were able to create better body design for increased safety.

Finally, they took a step never taken before. They created their i-LOOP regenerative braking system. This feat of engineering takes the vehicle’s kinetic energy from braking and converts it into electricity for the vehicle’s entire onboard electrical component needs, eliminating the need for the engine to produce electricity for these systems.

Mazda’s exceptional safety ratings and superior design make this car the ultimate choice for both families and the driving enthusiast. AutoWeek is showering this car with accolades for efficiency and being fun to drive. You will too.

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